Online Print Symposium 2022: What matters for the ‘restart’ of online printing

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With 250 attendees, the online printing symposium was a success – Inspiration came from Insight Pitches with six innovative start-ups – big ideas and inspiring ideas for success in online printing.

Twelve high-level speakers, six innovative start-ups, 13 exhibition partner companies – and 250 participants from all over Europe and the world: The Online Print Symposium has returned with a “big bang” after the forced break in 2021 due to corona and celebrated a very successful event at the Science Congress Center Munich. True to the motto “Get started and print online!”, the flagship event for the online printing industry was not only about lessons learned from the past two years, but more importantly about how a “restart” successful after the pandemic can be achieved.

Able to act even in times of crisis
Roland Keppler provided valuable input from the start of the 9th Online Printing Symposium. The CEO of Onlineprinters has carefully led the group of companies through the pandemic years. Among the lessons he learned from the crisis, he realized that market volatility is here to stay, but good internal communication can keep the company in a position to act. He says it is important, both as a company and as an industry, to have its own approach to the challenges of this time, to prepare realistically for a prolonged crisis and to think in terms of scenarios. For online printing, Keppler sees various trends that will lead to developments in the coming years: the shift from offline to online, market consolidation, internationalization, changing customer needs and the question of durability. Those who take these developments into account in their business model can sustainably increase the value of their company, even in times of crisis.

Online printing is recovering, but needs rethinking
Bernd Zipper, managing director of zipcon consulting and co-organizer of OPS, also gave an overview of the evolution of online printing. After the Corona pandemic caused a collapse in the printing industry, the signs point to a recovery, at least in online printing, as shown in particular by the top 5 online printers in the DACH region. The fact that printing is now more expensive given the shortage of paper and rising energy prices is accepted by the majority of the market. Nevertheless – or precisely because of this – a rethinking of online printing is on the agenda. The mundane online store has had its day, print buyers are looking for alternatives and demanding new services. Online print providers are therefore called upon to not stand still, to create trust and to interact with customers. After all, that was the good news of his presentation: a paradigm shift is emerging. Print revenue generated online is growing steadily and will exceed traditional print revenue for the first time by 2025.

Diversity, errors in online printing and digital leadership
But the internal structure of a company also influences its success. Hanne Dinkel, Chief Customer Delivery Officer of Spread Group, spoke about the importance of diversity, new forms of working and English as a business language – especially when it comes to recruiting specialists. Digital leadership expert Haeme Ulrich from Morntag GmbH also reported on new approaches to business and employee management. He provided a lot of food for thought with theses such as “manage the work – lead the people” or “the customer is a partner, not a king”. Thomas Völcker, managing director of the online printing company topp-druckwerkstatt.de, shared his experiences on the transition from a classic digital printing company to an online printing company. And Ramon van Wingerden, CEO and Founder of Dutch software company Prindustry, took OPS visitors with him on developments in the online printing industry in the BeNeLux region.

Insight pitches: start-ups attract attention
A highlight of the first OPS Day were also the insight presentations, in which six start-ups were able to present themselves. Among them were:

Hoodie Hoo, which combines software and creative solutions with API-based textile production in Izmir to enable small, personalized batch sizes

Printess, whose creators demonstrated how to easily manage complex high-margin products,

Lox Solution, which uses AI-based technologies to detect inconsistencies in the logistics process and help save a lot of money,

Design’n Drink, specialist in digital printing on aluminum cans,

FotoSystem, a cloud-based photo management, mass customization and printing platform, and

Imprimu, whose CEO and Founder Miki Rubin provided insight into the world of online printing in Latin America.

And the partner companies of the associated exhibition were also highlighted in the truest sense of the word, namely in entertaining video clips very close to “The Lion’s Den”.

Inkjet printing, a growing market
On the second day of the Online Print Symposium, the focus was first on a technology that has established itself in recent years as a true all-rounder: inkjet printing. Carles Farre, CEO of HP Pagewide Industrial, spoke about the rapid growth of high-speed inkjet product print volumes, the tension between supply chain challenges and increasing customer demands – and how the value of digital production printing increases as a result. He cited the benefits of end-to-end online production, talked about automation, and described the potential that lies in combining technology and data analytics. Also, the topic was productivity: after all, 7.5 hours instead of seven days of production time, as he showed with a customer example, has long been a reality.

Business models, Amazon Custom and crowdtesting
In addition to the production technology itself, it is also important to have the right business model – and to constantly question and adapt one’s own strategy, as Andreas Otto, CCP of the albelli-Photobox group, the pointed out and demonstrated using his own example. Karim-Patrick Bannour from Marktplatz 1 spoke about the opportunities and risks of Amazon Custom, Amazon’s service for offering personalized products. Other presentations on the second day of the event dealt with the topic of user experience and how crowdtesting can help guide users into their own online stores as easily and successfully as possible. The speaker was Georg Hansbauer from Testbirds. Zaikio’s Christian Weyer, meanwhile, addressed the question of what comes after “computer colleague” and what software needs to be able to do to meet the demands of the 21st century.

A panel discussion between Ulrich Stetter (president of Intergraf), Ulrich Schätzl (member of the board of directors of Dscoop) and moderators Jens Meyer (printXmedia) and Bernd Zipper (in his capacity as president of the Online Print Initiative) also focused on how print businesses can generate both more value and more business in the future despite all the challenges.

After OPS means before OPS
The Online Print Symposium 2022 has successfully returned and provided invaluable inspiration and food for thought, as well as many networking opportunities. Now is the time to note the date of the next OPS: The who’s who of the online printing world will meet as usual in Munich on March 23 and 24, 2023. Then there will be something to celebrate, because the nex year the Online Print Symposium will be ten years old.

Organizers
zipcon consulting GmbH is a globally active consulting company for the communications, print and media industry with a focus on online printing and digital transformation. The company sees itself as an independent and holistic technology and strategy consultancy. Zipcon also produces market research and various case studies for e-business printing, mass customization and multi-channel publishing. Leading companies in the online printing industry trust the expertise of this company. www.zipcon.de

The German Federation of Printing and Media (Bundesverband Druck und Medien eV / bvdm) is the central association of the German printing industry. As an employers’ association, political trade association and technical trade association, it represents the positions and aims of the printing industry vis-à-vis politics, administration, trade unions and supplier industry. The bvdm is supported by eight regional associations. It is organized internationally through its membership of Intergraf and FESPA. www.bvdm-online.de

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